We have two vans that take us from city to city. One van is the appropriately-titled passenger van and contains passengers and all the passengers’ crap. The second van is the cargo van which contains the entire set and sound system and just has room for the driver and navigator. There is a navigator in each car, a person who sits in the passenger seat up front and is responsible for numerous tasks including communicating with the other van via Walkie Talkie, keeping their eye on the directions and most importantly, taking control of the music.
For the record, I am an excellent navigator due in no small part to the fact that DeMond brought his XM radio.
I am in LOVE with XM radio. I love the 1940′s station. I love the Broadway station. I love all 40 million country stations though I have not yet subjected anyone in the van to them. I love XM Cafe. I love Channel 23, The Heart, which plays every cheesy love song ever made, including those recorded by Michael Bolton. I love music so much that for me, XM radio is the closest thing to heaven. Yes. That is all I need. Well. Okay. XM radio and possibly a vanilla cupcake with sprinkles.
I do not own XM radio myself because I don’t think I would ever leave the house. I would simply sit there and switch channels back and forth and back and forth and revel in ALL THIS AMAZING MUSICAL GLORY WITHOUT COMMERCIALS! In fact, I’m so obsessive and insane that XM bothers me a little and I have to switch stations compulsively because I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M MISSING. By the time James Taylor’s “Millworker” is over, Norah Jones is half-way through “Don’t Know Why” and the classical station is probably playing something by Rachmaninoff and I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO CHOOSE.
But. I manage. With deep breathing exercises and medication.
I’ve always been quite certain that my musical taste is downright awful and inappropriate for my age. Up until the age of 16 or so, my music collection included Broadway musical soundtracks and cassette tapes of Amy Grant’s “Heart in Motion” and Mariah Carey’s 1993 smashhit “Musicbox”. My musical theatre knowledge was vast and downright frightening, as I could list any show any performer had ever been in. I sang songs from Broadway musicals, playing all the roles, all day long and while I was completely aware that that’s why I didn’t have friends in junior high, I loved it too much to stop. I knew other music existed–my mom’s James Taylor tapes, my father’s John Denver records–but I just wasn’t interested.
I’m not sure when that changed. All that I know is that it did. The showtune CD’s were left to gather dust as I found other music to replace them, music that vibrated and resonated inside me the same exact way they had. Despite the fact that I’ve branched out considerably since then, I have always been late in my discoveries. I seem to catch onto artists long after the general public has recognized their brilliance. Even in this aspect of my life, I am always behind.
And even as I scramble together playlists of Ben Folds and Beck, Death Cab For Cutie and Nickel Creek, Interpol and the Indigo Girls, I wouldn’t say I have great musical taste, just that my taste for music has expanded. I’m still often embarrassed of my undying love for country and folk music, and I’m still completely aware that I know nothing of jazz, I just like things that sound “saxophony” and “pretty”.
And yet, when I am navigator and the XM radio remote control is in my hand, I have POWER.
I am forced to make decisions and I do so with aplomb. Snow Patrol! Ella Fitzgerald! James Blunt! Styx! James Taylor over that! Tracks of the new John Mayer album over that! Whitney Houston 80′s hits over EVERYTHING! Such confidence this beloved XM radio channel changer has instilled in me! So much in fact that earlier today, Demond told me that I had GREAT.TASTE.IN.MUSIC!
I was still brimming with joy over this comment later in the day while humming to “You Turn Me On (I’m A Radio)” when Melissa, the lead in our show, unabashedly announced to the van that she hated Joni Mitchell.
And since my musical ego was sinfully swollen and I believed in that moment that my musical tastes should be the musical tastes of all people, worldwide, everywhere, now and forever, I promptly threw Melissa from the van and she is now somewhere on a highway in Kentucky.
I do apologize but there’s nothing I can do. The XM radio temporarily possessed me.
We are now auditioning for a new star of our show. Time and date are TBA but please prepare a 32-bar selection of your favorite Joni Mitchell song. And now, I’m going to shamelessly listen to the song “N.Y.C.” from the hit musical “Annie” because at my core, I still have really bad musical taste.